Lisa Aronson Fontes PhD. serves as an expert witness in legal cases related to child abuse and intimate partner violence (or coercive control), particularly where cultural issues are relevant. Attorneys have cited her reports for their level of detail, clear writing, and organization.
Born and raised in New York City, Fontes, has traveled the globe lecturing on topics ranging from the sexual abuse of children to intimate partner violence. Working in the field as a psychotherapist, researcher, and activist, Fontes discovered that many agencies fail to comprehensively address the needs of their immigrant and cultural minority clients. She has dedicated her career to filling this gap: helping the mental health, social service, criminal justice, and legal systems provide better services in communities of color—especially for victims of violence. She provides keynotes and workshops for medical and mental health professionals, police, social workers, and community members.
Fontes earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her dissertation focused on services for Latino victims of child sexual abuse. She also has a Master’s in Psychology from New York University, a Master’s from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a Bachelor’s from Cornell University in Romance Languages and Literatures.
Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Fontes frequently conducts research and training in these languages as well as English. She has conducted short and long-term training in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, Guyana, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Spain, as well as in more than forty U.S. states.
Fontes is the author of the books: Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures, and Child Abuse and Culture. Her books have sold over 50,000 copies, and been translated into Spanish, Korean, Japanese, and two forms of Chinese.
She has written numerous journal articles and chapters on cultural issues in child maltreatment and violence against women. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She blogs for publications including PsychologyToday.com and DomesticShelters.org
Fontes received the Award for the Advancement of Cultural Competence in Child Maltreatment from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) in 2004.
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